Quiz on the War of 1812


Today marks 200 years since the beginning of the War of 1812, a conflict that cemented America's independence from Britain and its dominance on the continent. Test your knowledge on this important, but relatively little known war.

Commodore Perry, courtesy of the Library of Congress

1.) Multiple Choice Question

Why did the US declare war on Britain at the start of the war?

The White House, Getty Images
  1. King George III increased taxes and tariffs on Americans.
  2. Britain blockaded the US and the Royal Navy impressed US citizens.
  3. British forces burnt the US capital, including the White House.

2.) Multiple Choice Question

Who fought in the War of 1812?

Union Jack
  1. France, Britain and the US
  2. The Spanish, British and US
  3. Britain, French-Canadian troops, and the US
  4. Britain, Canada, Native American tribes, and the US

3.) Multiple Choice Question

Who was Britain fighting at the same time it battled American forces?

George III from the Library of Congress
  1. The French Empire
  2. Ireland
  3. France and dissident Canadians
  4. The Russian Empire

4.) Multiple Choice Question

Which leader died fighting for the British in the Battle of the Thames?

Battle of the Thames
  1. Royal Navy commander Thomas Cochrane
  2. British General Robert Ross
  3. Sir Isaac Brock, a British officer in Canada
  4. Shawnee warrior Tecumseh

5.) Multiple Choice Question

Whose warning of a planned American attack helped the British win the Battle of Beaver Dams?

  1. Henry Clay
    Henry Clay
  2. Francis Scott Key
    Star Spangled Banner
  3. Sir Isaac Brock
    Benedict Arnold
  4. Laura Secord
    Laura Secord, courtesy of Collections Canada

6.) Multiple Choice Question

The burning of Washington - including the White House - in 1814 traumatised the young American nation. What other major city was torched during the war?

The White HOuse after its destruction by the British
  1. New Orleans, Louisiana
  2. York, Upper Canada
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  4. Washington was the only city torched

7.) Multiple Choice Question

Who was Uncle Sam?

Uncle Sam, from a World War I-era recruiting poster
  1. Samuel Wilson, a meat packer for the US military
  2. Samuel Adams, brother to America's second president
  3. The Army's Light Dragoon regiment, known as "Uncle Sam's Lazy Dogs"
  4. Artist and telegraphy pioneer Samuel Morse

8.) Multiple Choice Question

What was the last major act of the War of 1812?

A detail from an illustration of the Battle of New Orleans
  1. The signing of the Treaty of Ghent, Christmas 1814
  2. The burning of Washington DC in 1814
  3. The rout of British forces at the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815

9.) Multiple Choice Question

Which of the following was not an outcome of the War of 1812?

  1. Future President Andrew Jackson became a national hero after his victory at the Battle of New Orleans.
    Star Spangeled Banner
  2. Canada's success in fending off American attacks was an early source of national pride.
    Canadian Flag
  3. Britain regained control of several former colonies.
    Union Jack
  4. Native Americans lost territory after the war.
    Sitting Bull


  1. President James Madison's state department reported that 6,257 Americans had been forced into service for the Royal Navy from 1807 to 1812. The US also declared war on Britain for supplying arms to Native American tribes. Anger over taxes and tariffs helped spark the American colonists' revolt against Britain, and burning of Washington DC occured in 1814.
  2. Native American tribes and Canada allied with Britain to counter American territorial expansion.
  3. Britain was also fighting in the Napoleonic Wars against the French Empire from 1803 to 1815.
  4. Tecumseh's death in 1813 and Britain's eventual desertion of their Native American allies destroyed the movement for an independent Native American nation.
  5. Laura Ingersoll Secord was a Canadian whose loyalist family migrated from Massachusetts to present-day Ontario. When she learned of the American plans, Secord walked 20 miles to Beaver Dams to warn British forces. Indian forces then ambushed the invading Americans.
  6. American troops burned York (present-day Toronto) in 1813. While Americans perceived the burning of Washington as barbaric, the British considered it revenge for the burning of Canada's parliament.
  7. In Troy, New York, Samuel Wilson packed meat rations in barrels labeled US. Legend has it a soldier was told the initials stood for Uncle Sam Wilson. But the image of Uncle Sam with a white beard and top hat first appeared a century later during World War I.
  8. While the War of 1812 officially ended when the Treaty of Ghent was signed, fighting continued until February 1815, when the US Senate ratified the peace treaty. The war had lasted 32 months - longer than the Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War and US involvement in World War I.
  9. The British won a string of impressive military victories on American soil but never again held peace time authority on US territory.

Your Score

0 - 3 : Torched!

4 - 6 : Improve your aim

7 - 9 : Hoist your flag!

For past quizzes including our weekly news quiz, 7 days 7 questions, expand the grey drop-down below - also available on the Magazine page (and scroll down).